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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
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    6,182

    Default Cats everywhere...including in the hen house...WWYD.

    I have 7 chickens today. Three days ago I had 8. I occasionally let them free-range in the afternoon on nice days. One chicken, Red, has always been a renegade--she goes off completely on her own, oblivious to the pull of the flock. Well she hasn't come back for two nights, nor in the morning for water and I think she's gone. That I saw coming--you just can't be a loner.

    What is bothering me is the cats. My neighbor's cats to be specific. There are at least 15-20 feral-ish cats. They are not friendly--I would say feral, but I think my neighbor feeds them (not sure how much or often--for sure leftovers). You think there are only two or three, because they all look like clones (probably inbred) until they line up on the south side of her house no a sunny day and you are like "OMG that is A LOT of cats." They seem to hunt in pairs or alone. There is a reason I have no song birds, which I love. Who knew moving to the country would equal less birds than in town?

    They also piss on my veggies and in my flower pots. They will piss on my hay if I leave the garage door open. That makes me mad--I'd like some ventilation. Then last night there were two inside my henhouse when I went to shut the door--stalking my poor girls. I think they got Red. I also think they got a hen last summer (tortured her, but didn't eat her--I had to put her down).

    My neighbor and I have no contact. I have tried (knocked on door, wave, etc.). It's cool, she wants to be left alone and she leaves me alone. I don't want to deny the gal her kitties. I don't want to SSS--I like cats in moderation, I even have two indoor cats. I also don't want to create any bad feelings or piss her off (how would you feel if someone mailed you a letter that made you feel like a cat hoarder?)--what if my dog sneaks over there? Don't want an escalating situation. So I really don't know what to do, if anything about the cats.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
    Location
    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
    Posts
    15,147

    Default

    If your chickens are large fowl, IME feral cats will not bother them. I'm not saying they can't, only that while they like to hang out and watch the chickens, they've never been the guilty party at my place. They've watched other predators take them and I've got one now that freaked the chickens out by walking in with them and catching an enormous rat. So I'm thinking it's more likely that your hen wandered off or got eaten by something else (or both).

    That's not to diminish the irritation of two dozen cats hanging at your place.

    You do of course have many fairly harsh options, including trapping them or calling animal control. You have annoying options on your side like putting up chicken wire to try to keep the cats out. A thoughtful letter may be a good next step, not so much "you cat hoarder you're a scourge on humanity and I'm going to start eating the cats" but maybe more "I'm concerned about all the cats in my barn and they're interfering in my barn and my garden. I would like to work with you to find a solution to help you keep them safe at your place."

    Good luck.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
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    Default

    The other concern I would have is if they are self-multiplying cats, and she needs help with getting them spayed and neutered. If she is unwilling to do so with that many cats, my irritation and draconian side would step up quite a bit.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    5 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    21,627

    Default

    Animal control or a LGD.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2007
    Location
    Crossville, TN
    Posts
    1,193

    Default

    I would quietly trap them and turn them into animal control. That is just disgusting.

    Although, I will say that my chickens chase my cats so I would be surprised if that cats were the demise of the chicken!


    4 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2006
    Location
    Seabeck - the soggy peninsula
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    4,060

    Default

    A full grown feral cat can and certainly will kill a small hen or young chickens. In many areas it is illegal now to feed outdoor cats and not provide spaying and vaccination for them as they are a reservoir for diseases, most especially rabies. I would trap the cats and take them in and have animal control give her a visit. I absolutely would not allow them to come and use your flower bed and hay for a latrine. Does she know the cats are doing this, have you written a letter or talked to her in person about this?
    "When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters, one represents danger, the other represents opportunity."

    John F Kennedy


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
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    6,182

    Default

    I didn't think they would do anything to a chicken either, but they do hunt in groups (which I also didn't think cats did, but I've seen them) and I think they will smack around a loner for giggles more than food. I'm pretty sure they killed the hen last year. Mangled her leg and belly, but she came home bleeding and laid her last egg on the driveway and then just sat there exhausted until we got home and put her down. That bloody egg on the driveway next to the bloody dazed hen was the saddest thing ever.

    I just think any other animal would have finished the job and a dog would have probably broke her neck.

    It's not even the chickens so much. It's just a lot of peeing cats. I would love to live trap them and neuter/spay them all, but holy $$. I have seen some get run over (after the fact) and one was limping in my pasture the other day, but over all they look pretty fat and healthy for feral cats.

    No, I tried knocking on her door when I saw her car home. She actively avoids making eye contact if I see her outside (in the summer, it's cold now). I always wave. I just don't know how to word a letter, without making her feel defensive. These new people move in and complain about your kitties. I think she is just a private, older lady who likes to feed the kitties and has forever. Her son farms (this is like the original home farm) and he is over there a lot when it's nicer out working on equipment, but we've just waved. I met the daughter once. I want to be their friend for neighbor reasons, but also he has big tractors and you never know when you might need a friendly neighbor with a tractor or something.

    Perimeter fence for a LGD isn't really an option right now. There is a highway about 300 feet away on one side (so fence is a must), but it would mean taking down a lot of trees I'm not quite ready to tackle, on two sides of the property.
    Last edited by TrotTrotPumpkn; Jan. 22, 2015 at 01:42 PM.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    13,495

    Default

    My barn cats are X-ferals and only moderately friendly. One of them is petrified of the chickens, the other two are just leery of them.
    Though I suppose a cat can take down a chicken, I am in the group that doubts your missing chicken was gotten by the neighbors cats.

    Is there an active TNR program in your area? If there is you could trap them and have them neutered. This will not immediately lower the population but over time the herd-o-cats will become smaller as they are not adding to the group.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
    Location
    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
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    In my area, we have a couple of groups that will help with trap-neuter-release. Your veterinarian will almost certainly know what help is available in your area. They will lend traps and also pay for the surgery. I think it's likely that you could formally or informally get help with such a large batch. It would surely help if the neighbor would welcome it. If not, then animal control remains an option.

    Of course, if they're feral, and on your land, and she won't talk to you about them, then they're as much your cats as hers in my eyes, and I think you are justified in taking whatever actions you deem appropriate.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
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    Default

    In terms of cat predation on chickens, your story of an injured hen left behind might be cats. A wholly missing chicken seems unlikely. It's a lot for a cat to drag away.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2009
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    2,509

    Default

    You don't have to knock on her door to take things into your own hands, you know. Call your humane people and call your local dog pound and find out if there is a program to trap and fix feral cats. Often there are such.

    Personally, if any animal took up annoyance on my property it would be trapped and removed. She doesn't have ther right to impose wild cats on you. You don't have to accept them. If they are wild, then you can get the pound to pick them up, and have as much right to that as she does, considering they are on yoru property.

    Personally, what the OP needs is a coyote.
    Trainer's website - photos of my horse Airborne under About and Francesca Edwards also in media page 1

    http://www.patricianorciadressage.com/


    4 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 2012
    Location
    La La Land
    Posts
    817

    Default

    Odds are highly unlikely that a cat killed your chicken. We have them together and they do great. I think you should call the local pound or rescue to live trap and then take care of them. Its not the cats fault they are not receiving proper care or treatment.

    I am sorry for you and these cats for being in this situation because of your neighbors neglect.
    I like my men like my tea: hot, strong, sweet and British!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2007
    Posts
    361

    Default Wash your veggies?

    Piss off your neighbor over cats? What happens when one of your horses gets on her land?

    Not sure where you are, but neutering ferals is often under $30 or free through animal welfare groups. My guess is your neighbor does not know this help is available. And most animal control departments will just euth and are not plugged in to the animal welfare community.

    These folks can direct you to a group that can help trap, neuter, return the cats: AlleyCatAllies www.alleycat.org/

    The chickens should be able to beat the crap out of a cat. One peck or claw would send most kitties running.

    There are motion sensor sprinklers that will spray cats, deer, humans, and can help keep them off your property. You may need to keep the chickens in a small yard with the little electric wire fence until you find a solution. Please remember those cats think you are trespassing on THEIR territory with your gardening and chickens. Your neighbor may have a hearing issue, or she could just be able to tell you are going to be a PITA neighbor to her.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambitious Kate View Post
    Personally, what the OP needs is a coyote.
    We have lots of those here, she can have some of ours.

    I am not thinking she will like the coyote preying on her chickens anymore than she likes the cats doing it and the coyote is far more likely to make a meal of her chickens.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiddenAcres View Post
    Piss off your neighbor over cats? What happens when one of your horses gets on her land?

    Not sure where you are, but neutering ferals is often under $30 or free through animal welfare groups. My guess is your neighbor does not know this help is available. And most animal control departments will just euth and are not plugged in to the animal welfare community.

    These folks can direct you to a group that can help trap, neuter, return the cats: AlleyCatAllies www.alleycat.org/

    The chickens should be able to beat the crap out of a cat. One peck or claw would send most kitties running.

    There are motion sensor sprinklers that will spray cats, deer, humans, and can help keep them off your property. You may need to keep the chickens in a small yard with the little electric wire fence until you find a solution. Please remember those cats think you are trespassing on THEIR territory with your gardening and chickens. Your neighbor may have a hearing issue, or she could just be able to tell you are going to be a PITA neighbor to her.
    Jeez, I thought I was clear I didn't want to kill the cats or have bad relations with my neighbors. Also, when your planter boxes around your front door smell like cat piss, it's kind of gross. But maybe I don't deserve flowers. Or piss free hay.

    But thank you for the link to the organization. That is the info I was looking for.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


    2 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
    Posts
    2,211

    Default

    What if you drop off a casually written note asking if she'd like your help with getting the cats spayed/neutered/vaccinated? Find a nice way to say, "since they're over here all the time, I have the chance to watch them and wondered if you'd like my help getting them to the clinic. My vet says the Feral Cat Clinic will do them for $X each." If she (or her son or daughter?) agrees, you may find you need to chip in some cash to get it done, but the outcome may be worth it. I can imagine a bunch of spraying tomcats is not making your garage a fun place to be.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2009
    Location
    Florida's armpit
    Posts
    338

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HiddenAcres View Post
    Piss off your neighbor over cats? What happens when one of your horses gets on her land?

    Not sure where you are, but neutering ferals is often under $30 or free through animal welfare groups. My guess is your neighbor does not know this help is available. And most animal control departments will just euth and are not plugged in to the animal welfare community.

    These folks can direct you to a group that can help trap, neuter, return the cats: AlleyCatAllies www.alleycat.org/

    The chickens should be able to beat the crap out of a cat. One peck or claw would send most kitties running.

    There are motion sensor sprinklers that will spray cats, deer, humans, and can help keep them off your property. You may need to keep the chickens in a small yard with the little electric wire fence until you find a solution. Please remember those cats think you are trespassing on THEIR territory with your gardening and chickens. Your neighbor may have a hearing issue, or she could just be able to tell you are going to be a PITA neighbor to her.
    The motion sensors to keep cats out of her garage will also keep her out of her garage.

    We're talking 20 or so intact, inbred, unvaccinated cats. Not precious kitties. Miscellaneous cats. Lots of them. And chances are this rural area isn't overrun with Animal Welfare groups. That's typically a suburban thing, but I do hope the OP has such options.

    Look, I'm not arguing to argue -I have and adore three cats and my small flock of hens, too. But 15, 20, 25 cats coming and spraying and pooping everywhere? That's some kinda filthy right there.

    OP, I would not let my cats free range unless you are outside with them. And I would absolutely have-a-heart trap and take to Animal Control/city pound until the numbers are more reasonable. that's a damn mess of cats right there.
    And I seriously doubt a one of them has been vaccinated. rabies, anyone??
    Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end, then stop. Alice in Wonderland


    4 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2009
    Location
    Florida's armpit
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    338

    Default

    that site was not easy to navigate, here's what the op needs from it:

    http://www.alleycat.org/page.aspx?pid=444
    Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end, then stop. Alice in Wonderland


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    6,182

    Default

    As an aside, last winter I heard coyotes singing all winter long. Not a peep this winter. I wonder if that's why it is such a problem now (we've only been here a couple years)? I mean 5 cats could create 20 pretty quickly.

    They (coyotes) never bothered my hens. The hens are cooped up securely at night, and only out for a few hours in the afternoon...and maybe they smelt my dogs? IDK I imagine the donkeys would have something to say about coyotes.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


    1 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    1,878

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
    I mean 5 cats could create 20 pretty quickly.
    Spring is right around the corner...

    Sorry, OP. It is a crappy position to be in. Literally! The crap (from one roaming cat) in my garden makes me so mad.


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